This post and giveaway are sponsored by Nature’s Path; however, the nutritional tips, editorial comments and enthusiasm are all my own.
Not all snack bars are created equal. And, with an entire grocery store aisle devoted to these popular between-meal munchies, it can be a confusing, tongue-clucking task deciding which bars to buy and which to avoid – some can contain more fat, sugar and calories than a candy bar! Not to mention concerning chemicals, additives and fillers.
So, whether for a gym bag, lunch box or office drawer, read on to find out how to make healthier choices when it comes to snack or nutritional bars. Also, don’t miss my giveaway at the end of this post for a 2-month supply of Superfood Bars from Nature’s Path. Continue reading →
This post and giveaway sponsored by Hamilton Beach, but all opinions and enthusiasm are my own!
I never thought I needed a toaster oven and, boy, was I soooo wrong. I changed my mind when recently developed a recipe for Hamilton Beach that would work in their fancy 4 Slice Easy Reach™ Toaster Oven with Roll-Top Door. Honestly, it was my first time using a countertop toaster since back in my childhood days when this is how I made my buttery, cinnamon toast for breakfast! I love the convenience and quick clean up so much, I’m giving away one of these amazing appliances to one of you (enter at bottom of post).
The recipe I made for Hamilton Beach was a single serve breakfast cookie Chocolate Speckled and Seeded Breakfast Cookie, a much healthier option than the sugar and butter on white bread treat I would cook up as a kid. Fresh baked from the toaster oven, this cookie is packed with flavor and nutrition thanks to whole grains, seeds, and just a smattering of chocolate to soothe a sweet tooth. The entire huge cookie has just 268 calories and 16g protein – plus it’s gluten-free and nut-free plus sugar free and dairy-free (if you don’t use the chocolate chips). Get the full recipe on Hamilton Beach Every Day Good Thinkingblog
So, what’s so awesome about a toaster oven? Well, for one thing, it doesn’t heat the whole house up, and that’s a major concern here in Texas! But you still get that fresh-baked, crispy texture on foods that the microwave just can’t deliver – the little slide out tray will accommodate so many healthy food options – broil salmon, roast asparagus, bake eggs, make muffins and, yes, even make toast! It fits four slices of toast or even a 9” pizza! A smaller appliance is also so convenient when just preparing a meal for one or two people and works well in a dorm room, RV, cabin, office kitchen or other places where space is tight. Plus, the 4 Slice Easy Reach™ Toaster Oven with Roll-Top Door has several unique features including a removable roll-top door than makes it super easy to clean up!
My mornings can’t be complicated. I have a hard enough time getting out of bed at 5:15 am and then am greeted by a dog extremely needy for attention, kids to get ready for school, email to respond to, social media to monitor and loads of other things – like dishes and laundry! All this needs to happen before I head out the door for my run or gym time– and, believe me, that’s non-negotiable. I need a breakfast that is pretty much ready and waiting for me!
In the summer, a smoothie bowl (like my Orange Pistachio Almond Bowl one make with Almond Breeze Chocolate Almondmilk) or cold Greek yogurt and fruit are just fine, but in the winter, I need and easy, quick breakfast that will fuel me through my workout and warm me up from the inside. My recipe for Warm Overnight Java Brownie Chia-Oats to the rescue – it’s my hybrid take on traditional overnight oats and chia puddings.
This healthy breakfast recipe takes just a few minutes to prep – I do it after dinner when I’m making the kids’ lunchboxes because it needs at least 3 hours to sit in the fridge and do its thing. In the morning, the nutritious ingredients absorbed the liquid and await a quick blast in the microwave to warm. I can usually barely wait to get my hands on that hot mug of goodness! You can also eat this the chia oats cold too, I just prefer hot!
Time saving tip: Mix up everything in the microwave-safe mug or bowl you plan to eat from – who has time for extra dish washing?!
Since you know I’m a healthy food and fitness nerd, let me just tell you about some of the awesome ingredients in this easy overnight oat recipe and how each helps support optimal health and peak performance for your sport.
Almond Milk*: With just 30 calories per 8-ounce serving, almondmilk is a sensible addition to any meal or recipe. It also has 50% more calcium than 2% dairy milk, is an excellent s source of vicatims D and E and is low on the Glycemic index. Key for athletes is, adequate vitamin D levels promote good bone density, innate immunity, muscle wasting, and exercise-related inflammation and immunity. It is also suggested, this nutrient could help prevent stress fractures.
Whole Grain Oats: Oats are whole grain by nature add fill you up with lots of fiber, have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels and help stabilize blood sugar. Athletes can count on the quality complex carbs in oats to provide non-crashing energy and to refuel muscles after a taxing workout. I really love the Nuts and Seeds Super Oats by LoveGrownFoods.com.
Chia Seeds: The industrious Aztecs had a good thing going with chia seeds. This ancient superfood is loaded with nutrition despite it’s teeny-tiny size. Just two tablespoons of chia seeds contains 10 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, more calcium than milk, more Omega-3s than salmon, more iron than spinach, and more antioxidants than blueberries.
Maca Powder: Nearly magical maca powder is derived from a root vegetable indigenous to Peru – don’t confuse it with Macha green tea powder. This natural boost has been prized for thousands of years for its ability to boost stamina, endurance and hormonal balance. It includes vital nutrients such fatty acids, fiber, proteins, carbohydrates and minerals. Don’t miss my past Maca Mint Chip Smoothie.
Cacao Powder: Cacao (or cocoa) powder has been linked to lower blood pressure, a boost in blood ﬂow to the muscles, and reduced cardiovascular demand during exercise. Cacao powder also lowers an athletes perception of fatigue and the boost of caffeine has been shown to improve performance. The higher percentage of cacao in your powder, the better. Try this one.
Coffee: This essential morning elixir has been suggested to reduce the incidence of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and boost metabolism. It also actually has some beneficial nutrients like B vitamins, manganese and potassium and the natural epinephrine kick from the caffeine can improve focus and athletic performance.
*Typically, I purchase the chilled almond milk from the “dairy” aisle – however, I always like to stock the pantry with shelf-stable Almond Breeze Almondmilk so that I always have a supply on hand for emergency rations and 11th hour recipe inspirations.
What are your eating for breakfast these days? Are you a fan of overnight oat or chia puddings? Did you run a race this weekend or do something fun in winter wonderland? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer
This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Almondmilk. However, the recipes, opinions and enthusiasm are all my own.
Warm Mocha Brownie Overnight Chia Oats
A welcomed wake-up call and boost of sustaining morning energy, this easy make-ahead breakfast recipe gives you more out of your mug and more out of your day!
The following post is sponsored by Fitfluential LLC on behalf of Daisy Cottage Cheese.
Today, it’s cottage cheese, please! But, as I kid, I expressed my displeasure with this curd-style dairy product with the same gusto that was reserved for having blood drawn, getting grounded, having to babysit my brother instead of hang out with friends — no, please, please, please don’t do this to me! Crying, screaming, gnashing of teeth and so on. Boy, how times change! I barely wince at a needle prick, never get in trouble with my parents anymore and would welcome the opportunity to spend more time with my brother. And . . . as you probably have guessed, I now love cottage cheese!
When I headed down to the store to get my carton of Daisy Cottage Cheese, I noticed that the brand has rolled out new packaging – it’s so catchy with the white carton, blue lid and signature flower. It’s easy to figure out if you’re buying delicious full-fat Daisy (dark blue lid) or low-fat Daisy (light blue lid) — these little details matter, especially if I’m in a rush! But a great carton isn’t the only #DaisyDifference when it comes to stacking up this product against similar seeming cottage cheese brands on the shelves. Daisy Cottage Cheese just plain uses better ingredients (and fewer) than the competition. Made from only four ingredients, this stuff is straightforward and simple – just the way it should be. I feel confident serving Daisy to my family knowing it isn’t gunked up with unnecessary additives, preservatives and thickeners.
Nutrition Label for Daisy Low-Fat 2% Cottage Cheese
What I’ve found as a mom and athlete is that cottage cheese is a great way to pack a wallop of protein into any meal of the day– even snacks and treats! Did you know that a ½ cup serving of 2% Daisy Cottage Cheese has just 90 calories and 14 grams of protein – getting me well on my way to achieving my daily protein requirement. As a runner and fitness enthusiast who often works out two times a day, I require extra protein to help my body recover and rebuild muscle. It’s so easy to add cottage cheese to a smoothie, a salad, or on top of a baked potato – I even blend up cottage cheese to transform it into a creamy sauce and silky, smooth baking ingredient. Plus, since our family is on a budget, I really appreciate the value that cottage cheese offers as a protein source.
In honor of spring and all its fresh flavors, I whipped up this yummy batch of Lemon Chai Tea Cakes with Berries. It’s a healthy dessert that is balanced with protein – actually, I think it would also be great for breakfast! As a bonus, this recipe is gluten-free and doesn’t have a lot of added sweetness – only a bit of honey and lemon curd.
Lemon Chia Tea Cakes with Berries Recipe
2 cups gluten-free oat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cup 2% Daisy Brand cottage cheese
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup lemon curd
¼ cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
Sauce and Garnish
½ cup 2% Daisy Brand cottage cheese
¼ cup lemon curd
Blackberries and raspberries
In large bowl, mix together oat flour, baking powder, chia seeds and salt until combined.
In blender, mix together cottage cheese, lemon juice, lemon curd, honey, vanilla, eggs and oil until smooth.
Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients, stirring until just combined but not over mixing.
Spoon batter into 4 free-standing paper baking cups (4” diameter) or 8 standard size muffin tins.
Bake for approximately 20 – 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center pulls clean.
While muffins are baking, make sauce by adding ½ cup cottage cheese and ¼ lemon curd in blender; blend until smooth.
To serve, spoon sauce over cooled tea cakes and top with berries. Serves 4.
Don’t Miss the Twitter Chat with Daisy Cottage Cheese
Find out how to “Power Your Way Through the Day” with cottage cheese, a versatile protein source for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks – as well as for workout fuel and recovery. I can’t wait to learn more about the benefits of cottage cheese from the experts and find out some of the Fitfluential community’s favorite recipes.
Hosted by: FitFluential
Date: April 10, 2014
Theme: Power Your Way Through the Day
Time: 9:00 pm EST